Following this week’s devastating earthquake in Lorca, the Orihuela Town Hall has issued details of its own emergency plan should a similar seismic event occur within the municipality. The Emergency Coordinator at the Town Hall, Jesus Rodriguez, said: “Orihuela, lies on a fault line that runs straight through the southeast of Spain and that is the same fault line that has led to the recent earthquake in Lorca.
This is one of the most active faults lines in Spain and is known as the Lorca-Alhama and Totana fault line. It is located on the southern boundary of the Eurasian Plate and is very close to the boundary of collision between the Eurasian and African plates.”
This places Orihuela right on the fault line and within a major seismic activity zone. The Department of Safety and Emergencies at Orihuela Town Hall has devised the ‘Municipal Spatial Plan’ which includes the planning and coordination of intervention for any emergency that may arise in the municipality.
This plan will be acted upon in an emergency as well as any specific action plans to address each individual emergency. Jesus continued: “The territorial plan is the blueprint, which defines all risk situations that could happen in our town, floods, fires, accidents of dangerous goods and seismic incidents and as we have said we are in a seismic zone.”
With the activation of this plan, CECOPAL (the Local Government Operations Coordination Centre) is immediately launched. This involves the governing body and the coordination of all emergency services in the municipality. It is under the chairmanship of the Mayor and has a large team which includes councillors and emergency service chiefs who are in control of the teams that are providing ground relief efforts for those who are affected as well as those providing shelter, supplies, health and psychological care, search and rescue, debris removal etc and of course, the supply of essential and important information to the public.
In addition to this plan, there is a special municipal shelters plan, which is attached to all individual plans, whatever type of risk they are. These are supplied by a third party and include improvised shelters and camps as well as the provision of supplies and health and psychological care for the displaced.
With the recent publication of the Special Autonomy Plan, which has special emphasis on seismic incidents, the Town Hall’s Security and Emergencies Department has commenced work on drafting a specific plan of municipal action against seismic risks.
Jesus concluded: “Orihuela Town Hall has an emergency department and a group of specialist Civil Protection officers who are trained in the effects of earthquakes and they are well prepared for any emergency that may arise throughout the municipality.”
Source: Orihuela Town Hall press release